Lumber maker to add dozens of jobs
FREEDOM – The planned sawmill expansion is expected to create dozens of jobs, an expanded outlet for local lumber – and income for the city.
City officials took several steps Tuesday to help with Greentree Lumber Co.’s project on Highway 24 East.
“We think this is something that’s going to be huge for this region, all of southwestern Mississippi,” Mayor Pat Talbert said at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The city will benefit by charging a “freight charge” for natural gas to the plant to power its furnaces.
The aldermen agreed to pay Liberty Insurance $ 250 for a $ 10,000 bond, which the Department of Transportation needs for drilling under Highway 584 for the gas line to the plant. The bond provides coverage for damage to the highway south of the city.
“It’s the only expense we’re going to have,” said Talbert.
The company will bear the cost of laying 8,000 feet of three-inch gas line across the country between the city line and the company.
“They are going to start clearing the right-of-way on 12 (October),” Talbert said. “They’re going to have gas flowing over there by November 1.”
The aldermen agreed to apply for a road drilling permit from the MDOT. They also accepted a letter from Entergy authorizing the line to cross its easements.
Counsel for the council, Sara Hemphill, has been busy acquiring easements for the gas line.
“They (Greentree) are going to build the line and donate that construction to the city, and then the city will maintain that line from that point,” she said.
“It sounds too good to be true,” Alderman Walt Gaston said.
“It’s getting better,” said Talbert.
The city will charge Greentree 25 cents per unit as transportation costs for natural gas. Texican, which sells gas to the town and will also sell it to the plant, will bill Greentree for the costs and credit the amount to the town’s account.
“Our gas account will increase, our profit,” said Talbert. “Greentree will have its own account with Texican for gas.
“They could use a quarter of a million dollars of gas a month. We will make a good comfortable profit on this freight cost, and as this factory grows, so will it.
This is great news for a city whose budget has a natural gas fund of $ 225,275.
Then there are the job opportunities.
“They’re going to have high paying jobs with benefits, 401 (k),” Talbert said of Greentree.
Exact numbers were not available from Greentree, located at the former Mabry Lumber Co. site, but Talbert said the company could triple or quadruple its current number of around 50 employees.
The expanded mill will also be a good outlet for local lumber owners.
“Let’s go fill up with gasoline!” Said Gaston.
“Let’s make money! Alderman Nora Morgan added.